Coconut milk is a colorless, sweetish juice that fills almost the entire interior of an unripe nut, the kernel of a coconut fruit. It makes a pleasant thirst-quenching drink. When the nut is ripe, the milk takes on a whitish hue, and although it does not have the same nutritional value as cow’s milk, it can be used as a healthier alternative.
Ginger is one of the cheapest spices and the Chinese use it extensively in their cooking. It is usually called ginger root, although the so-called “root” is actually nothing more than a rhizome, a thickened underground stem. Ginger owes its healing properties to essential oils, phenols and alkaloids included in its composition. Fresh or dried, ginger has a warming and antiseptic effect. It improves digestion, stimulates blood circulation, thins phlegm and increases sweating. It is a good medicine for hypothermia, colds, coughs, nausea, vomiting, colic, spasms and motion sickness.
Barley is a perennial food for the people of northern China, whose climate is too cold for rice cultivation. Like all grains, barley is rich in carbohydrates, protein, calcium, phosphorus, niacin (nicotinic acid) and thiamine. Barley flour is used to make bread, and malt, which is the germinated grain of barley, is used along with yeast and hops in brewing. A glass of barley beer won’t hurt overnight, and the yeast it contains is laxative. Barley water, obtained by steeping barley kernels, is a weak diuretic. It also improves appetite, has a tonic effect during pregnancy, not to mention the refreshing qualities of this drink.
Sea ear is the name of the sea mollusk that teems the coastal waters of southern China and California, although in other countries it can be found only in canned form. It is a source of protein, minerals, vitamins and a small amount of fat. It also contains salt and iodine in natural form. From abalone and lean pork, a soup is prepared, healing for those who have liver problems, symptoms of dysfunction of which are dizziness, headaches and insomnia. This soup is also a good medicine for fever (nervous excitement) and tuberculosis. Prepared with pork bladder, abalone is a traditional remedy for women’s ailments.
Shellfish – whether crustaceans (crabs, lobsters) or shellfish (shrimp, mussels) – are a source of protein, polyunsaturated fats, sea salt, niacin, thiamine, vitamin A, as well as phosphorus, iodine and other minerals. Easy to prepare, they are just as easy to digest and just as healthy as sea fish. They reduce the proliferation of the thyroid gland, the development of asthma, and help with nervous and mental disorders. “More seafood and less meat” – this motto can become the slogan of those who value their health and peace of mind.
Fish oil from the liver contains a high concentration of healthy substances and vitamins A and D, as well as a number of polyunsaturated fatty acids known collectively as “Omega 3”. And fish oil from salmon, produced mainly in capsules, is now becoming increasingly popular as a source of essential oils and vitamins A and D.
Poultry is highly prized by the Chinese. They give preference to duck, chicken, goose and pigeon. The meat of these birds is a valuable source of fats, protein and B vitamins. It is usually white in color, has a soft texture and is easier to digest than animal meat. As a rule, before cooking any dish from poultry, the Chinese pre-boil it to remove excess fat. Strong chicken broth is the basis of many healing soups in Chinese cuisine. The Chinese use the whole bird: the liver, intestines, pharynx, goiter, paws, kidneys and everything else are used. Chicken liver is a source of iron, vitamins A and D, and folic acid. It is useful for anemia.
Eggs from both poultry and wild – goose, duck, chicken, pigeon, pheasant, quail and other birds – the Chinese eat with great pleasure. They believe that since an egg contains all the nutrients needed for the development of a bird’s embryo, it should also contain all the nutrients required by the human body. Indeed, eggs contain all the elements a person needs: protein, a little fat, vitamins A, B2 and D, calcium, phosphorus and iron. But eggs are susceptible to infection, so they should be bought fresh, cooked and consumed in large quantities.
Pork offal is highly valued by the Chinese for its nutritional and medicinal properties and is by no means considered a waste of meat processing, suitable only for food for the poor, as is customary in the West.
The liver contains iron, vitamins A and D and H